In my last column on the "Art of Seeing," I advised that it was important to slow down and focus on making one great image of a particular scene as opposed to making just a few lackluster pictures of many different scenes.
Sometimes that is easier said than done. When we first see something that visually stimulates us, and makes us stop to photograph that object, we are excited at the discovery, and we start to fire away at the entire scene.
The better way to approach that object is to study it and look closely at all of the detail that might be hidden in it. This is called working the scene, or, as I tell my students, finding the picture within the picture.
Once your photograph is found, working the scene can mean a process to eliminate clutter, cleaning up and organizing image elements to focus attention on what you deem important. Scan the edges of the frame to make sure you're not missing anything, and look for details that can improve the image by cropping them out or including them within the frame.
Most photographers don't realize that they have a great tool on their digital cameras to help with this process. This tool is the monitor zoom and scroll feature.
As you are reviewing your image on your cameras' monitor, find the zoom button and zoom in on your image, this feature also lets you check for focus. After you have zoomed in on the image, find the scroll toggle button. This will let you move around inside the image and allows you to see what the scene might look like if you were to move in closer or crop the image a certain way.
Remember that it is important to compose your image in the camera as you want to print it, as opposed to cropping in tighter later. The reason for this is that your image quality will decrease as you enlarge those pixels.
You will be amazed at the different things that you will see after you zoom and scroll around, giving you more options for making different compositions of that scene.
Once you have seen and gotten excited about a new view, you can adjust your camera position, move in closer, recompose and make the image you saw on your monitor.
Try several different views of that same subject matter and don't forget to try different aperture, or F stop, settings to get a different look using depth of field focusing on different areas within the subject for creative effect.
Another option that you may have on your camera to help you work a scene is the live view feature.
The live view tool lets you turn your monitor into your viewfinder. Allowing you to see the image that you are working on as you hold the camera over your head.
Back in the old days working as a photojournalist with a film camera, this was know as the "Hail Mary" shot.
The idea of this technique is to make an image with a different vantage point that the viewer is not used to seeing.
Remember, your goal as an image maker is to create an image that provokes an emotional response from your viewer -- perhaps responding in the same way you did when you decided to take the photo in the first place.
Jay Sousa, a former Sun-Star photographer, has his own photography business in Merced, conducts private classes and teaches photography at Merced College.